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9780888997036_cover Enlarge Cover
5 of 5
1 rating
list price: $9.95
also available: eBook
published: July 2006

Odd Man Out

by Sarah Ellis

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depression & mental illness, multigenerational
5 of 5
1 rating
list price: $9.95
also available: eBook
published: July 2006

Winner of the Sheila A. Egoff Children’s Literature Prize and the TD CCBC Canadian Children's Literature Award

Kip is spending the summer with his grandmother and his five eccentric girl cousins, including Emily, who thinks she's a dog. Gran's house is about to be demolished, so anything goes, whether it's drawing maps on the walls or sawing off the knob at the bottom of the banister for a smoother ride.

When Kip bashes through an old closet, he discovers the binder his late father kept as a teenager. He's bewildered by what he finds: puzzling lists, hair samples, old newspaper clippings and business cards -- all accompanying a confidential report written by a mysterious young operative who is carrying out a secret plan to infect teenagers with a cell-altering virus.

This wonderful novel has all the Sarah Ellis hallmarks -- quirky characters, insight and wit -- underpinned by resonant themes of family, memory and the creative imagination.

About the Author
Sarah Ellis has written more than twenty novels and picture books for young readers. Her many honors include the Governor General's Award, the Mr. Christie Book Award, the Sheila A. Egoff Children's Book Prize, and the prestigious Vicky Metcalf Award for a body of work. Written from her insightful memories of her own childhood and keen observations of the world around her, Ellis' stories masterfully reflect her readers' own experiences. She lives in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Author profile page >
Contributor Notes

SARAH ELLIS is a celebrated author, teacher and children’s literature expert. She has written more than twenty books across the genres, and her books have been translated into French, Spanish, Danish, Chinese and Japanese. She has won the Governor General’s Literary Award (Pick-Up Sticks), the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award (Odd Man Out) and the Sheila Egoff Award. Her first novel, The Baby Project, remains a children’s classic, still in print more than thirty years after publication.

Sarah is a masthead reviewer for the Horn Book Magazine, and she is a former faculty member at Vermont College of Fine Arts.

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
9 to 12
4 to 7
Reading age:
9 to 12
  • Short-listed, Alberta Children's Choice Award
  • Long-listed, OLA Silver Birch Award
  • Short-listed, Manitoba Young Reader's Choice Award
  • Long-listed, Chocolate Lily Award
  • Commended, CCBC Our Choice (Starred Selection)
  • Commended, OLA Best Bets - Top 10 Fiction for Children
  • Winner, Sheila A. Egoff Children’s Literature Prize
  • Short-listed, Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Award
  • Short-listed, CLA Book of the Year for Children Award
  • Winner, TD Canadian Children's Literature Award
  • Commended, Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award
  • Commended, Maine State Library Cream of the Crop List
  • Commended, ALA Notable Books for Older Readers list
Editorial Reviews

Ellis creates with splendid and inviting detail a chaotic houseful of happy relatives who treat the old house as a big toy because of its forthcoming demolition...this is a determinedly individual and warmly affectionate family story about a boy who finds strength in new understanding of both the present and the past.

— Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

Ellis's language is restrained but rich, and she brings readers directly into Kip's world, never wavering from his sensitive point of view; and Kip's gradual understanding of his father's mental illness is affecting. The characterization is vivid...

— Horn Book

Kip...is an engaging protagonist, and his search for the truth is suspenseful enough to hold readers' attention.

— Booklist

Odd Man Out is beautifully written: clever, funny, and hauntingly sad. Ellis has a sure hand at dialogue, bringing to life each cousin's eccentricity and Gran's warmth.

— Vancouver Sun

The strength of this novel rests not only in the intriguing plot, but also with Ellis's amazing ability to bring her characters to life....all of the characters stay alive in the readers mind far after the book is finished.

— Resource Links

Quirky characters and a solid plot make for an engaging read.

— Book Links

Ellis's restrained but rich language and vivid characterizations bring readers directly into Kip's world.

— Horn Book

Odd Man Out is a mystery novel full of thoughtfulness and humour.

— Teaching Tolerance

Ellis...offers an insightful character study in this novel....the themes of growing up, accepting change, and finding out where one belongs make it a universally appealing work that teens will enjoy...

— VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates)

This is another superb novel by Sarah Ellis. Odd Man Out is a multifaceted story of imagination, suspense, family, fun, and even fear...without a doubt, Odd Man Out deserves a spot on every library and classroom shelf. Highly recommended.

— CM Magazine

This is a thoughtful and often funny book of a boy on the verge of adolescence challenged to think...in a different way.

— School Library Journal

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